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to still have the rage about my birthing experience 3 and half years later?

(52 Posts)
IceBeing Wed 05-Nov-14 13:42:22

When my fabulous DD grazes her knee caps and starts to cry, I feel nothing. Of course I go cuddle her and clean her up etc. but I don't care that she hurt herself. I feel nothing and this is why.

I had a horrible birth - 22 hours, much of which was spent thrashing around in animal pain. The epidural only worked intermittently, the spinal block failed to get going and I ended up with a forceps delivery under general anaesthetic. I ended up having had a haemorrhage, a punch to the stomach, stitches in two tears and an episiotomy, and had to packed vaginally with gauze to contain the bleeding (all of which I missed of course).

When I came around (a vague process spread over about 2 hours) I didn't know what was happening, where I was or why there was a baby there. It was at this point that my husband was told to leave. So I spent the next 6 hours on my own in a room with a baby that I didn't really recognise as mine. When she cried I tried to flop out of bed and pick her up and breast feed her. Luckily she was pretty into the breast feeding so I didn't need to be.

Eventually a nurse came back and explained amongst other things that they needed to pull the gauze out which was 'not going to be comfortable'. Indeed not. From then on every time the baby cried I had horrible pain in my stomach and pulling on the stitches. Nobody told me that might be normal, nobody told me it was okay for me to be moving around. I was terrified that when I got up and picked my baby up I was damaging myself further. But there was noone else around so I did it anyway.

The pain induced by the baby crying carried on for 8 weeks or so. By this time I was getting recurrent fever and eventually I went into hospital and got some left over placenta removed.

Four months post partum I finally stopped bleeding and it stopped being physically painful to hear DD cry. But the damage was done by then. From then until now, the emotional part of my brain simply shuts down every time DD cries. I get an adrenaline rush every time I think she is going to start crying, like when she rolls over in bed, making it impossible for me to sleep in the same room as her.

I know I should feel empathy when DD is hurt, and the fact I don't makes me feel like a psychopath. I don't know how to fix this. How do I retrain my body to know that DD crying doesn't hurt me any more?

penguinthermometer Wed 05-Nov-14 13:49:25

What a horrible time you had with the birth flowers It sounds like you need some proper help with this - could you explain to your GP, who should be able to help?

IceBeing Wed 05-Nov-14 13:51:20

Thank you for replying. I think I need to rant - and I want to rant at DD. But that is obviously completely inappropriate.

I am being 'treated' on the NHS for depression...but haven't received a referral for counselling.

Mammanat222 Wed 05-Nov-14 13:51:37

It sounds very grim.

I suppose the obvious question is if you have ever raised this with a healthcare professional before?

theposterformallyknownas Wed 05-Nov-14 13:52:34

You poor love, I can't imagine what you must be going through it sounds a dreadful birth and a nightmare for a time afterwards.
You are not a psychopath but I think you do need help.
Please talk to your health visitor or gp and maybe have some counselling.
A different case altogether but a difficult birth along with other factors were responsible for my dsis having psychosis and unfortunately without help she left her baby.
I know it won't come to this with you but the way you talk has some similarities to what she tells me, especially the felling nothing and not caring.
Please seek and accept some help my love.
You are not a bad person, but you need help just atm.
Sending you hugs and thanks

effinandjeffin Wed 05-Nov-14 13:54:47

You poor, poor thing flowers

As mamma said, have you had any help with this? Cbt or the like?

neighbourhoodwitch Wed 05-Nov-14 13:57:33

So sorry about your awful experience. It sounds like you are still traumatised by it. I am so sorry and hope that you get the help that you need. x

MabelSideswipe Wed 05-Nov-14 13:57:51

I think hynotherapy might be useful for you. It could very well break the link between crying and fear/pain which seems to be rooted into your subconcious.

I am really sorry to hear you have had such a crap time.

IceBeing Wed 05-Nov-14 13:58:23

I have requested help from GP. I haven't at any point in the last 6 months made it to the top of the counselling list.

MabelSideswipe Wed 05-Nov-14 13:58:30

should say hypnotherapy

puddock Wed 05-Nov-14 13:59:08

How horrible for you. May I recommend the Birth Crisis Network who offer reflective listening about traumatic birth experiences?

"Some women ring within a few weeks of giving birth. But usually it is later. For some it is months or years. Some are pregnant again. Another pregnancy often brings feelings of dread as to whether it is all going to happen again and emotions they hoped they had laid to rest become threatening. Many women who are suffering from having been disempowered in birth are treated by GPs with anti-depressant drugs, when what they really need is to be able to talk with someone who understands, who does not try to explain or justify the treatment they received, or to criticise them and the way they feel about what happened to them, and who knows how to listen reflectively. This is what the Birth Crisis Network offers."

www.sheilakitzinger.com/birthcrisis.htm

IceBeing Wed 05-Nov-14 13:59:21

Thank you all for the sympathy - it helps to know people don't just think I am a whinging idiot!

IceBeing Wed 05-Nov-14 14:00:14

Thank you for those two good suggestions - I will look into both of them.

IceBeing Wed 05-Nov-14 14:00:44

off to a meeting now. but thanks for listening and I will certainly check back later.

OydNeverDeclinesGin Wed 05-Nov-14 14:02:28

Jeez what a horrible story, so sorry your still suffering from this flowers
I can't believe you've not been referred for counseling, get back to your gp and demand it.
You could also try Shelia kitzinger birth crisis, Google it. They have trained support for this kind of thing.
You really need to move on from this and your gonna need help to do that I think. But I do believe it's possible. No woman should be left alone with something like this, best of luck( that's support, not brill with words!)

MabelSideswipe Wed 05-Nov-14 14:13:33

I have been told by a very good hypnotherapist that hypnotherapy should help with a problem within 2 or 3 sessions so it does not have to be a wildly expensive form of therapy. The key is finding one whose good and that you trust.

Dangermouse1 Wed 05-Nov-14 14:14:21

You are certainly not whinging or an idiot, it sounds like you are suffering from birth trauma which is a type of PTSD. Try also the birth trauma association www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk for information and support which may help. I found having a 'debrief' on the birth experience (going through your notes with a specialist trained midwife to find out what exactly happened to your and why) was helpful in putting some of my experience (which was nowhere close to as bad) behind me. If you think it might help your health visitor or gp should be able to help arrange this, although sadly not all are as knowlegable as others.

KnittedJimmyChoos Wed 05-Nov-14 14:21:30

as above you need specialist help from the people who will understand you from the get go, and thats the birth trauma ass as above.

I would also call pals, I think its shocking your dh was told to leave.

you also perhaps need to go through notes.

if you ever want another your a good candidate for a nice calm elc!

mutternutter Wed 05-Nov-14 14:27:53

I had it bad with my first but not that bad.plenty of good advice from ppcake

SnottySundays Wed 05-Nov-14 14:29:25

Oh bless you, that sounds like a horrific experience. It's hardly surprising you feel the way you do after all that.

Not much to add, lots of good advice above, but can I just say this is one reason why it pisses me off so much that the budgets for counselling have been cut so much. Waiting 6 months plus is just not acceptable.

Canyouforgiveher Wed 05-Nov-14 14:37:22

Awful experience, no wonder you are traumatised. I think you should try the birth trauma association and definitely try to get some help in dealing with your justifiable emotions.

I had an horrific first birth - very similar to yours in some ways. I didn't have the long-term reaction you have probably because my dh was with me throughout and I got a lot of really good nursing support after the birth itself. But 15 years later my dh met my obgyn and she remembered me and said how sorry she was for what happened and I realised how angry I was and how much I needed that apology. Until I heard that I never truly let go of my anger.

Katinkka Wed 05-Nov-14 16:55:29

That sounds awful. Can't offer more than sympathy. Hope you find some sort of solution. xx

IceBeing Wed 05-Nov-14 18:21:51

canyou that is interesting to hear. I have actually already done the reading through of notes...and received apologies from no less than 4 anaesthetists who saw me during labour.

rumbleinthrjungle Wed 05-Nov-14 19:13:49

You've been traumatised, you are absolutely not missing any bits of your maternal instinct, your brain just learned in crisis a way to protect you to survive what was happening and you need help to turn it off again.

Any trauma supportive therapy is worth thinking about to find the one right for you, Eye movement therapy is one I know from experience can be very helpful in reducing trauma memories and feelings. You might also find Theraplay something you'd enjoy with your daughter if you can find a local therapist, it's a very gentle guided play therapy approach where the therapist plays with both you and the child together, it can help parents with enjoying and having the chance to repeat some of the bonding process that you weren't able to have in those first days.

So sorry you're going through this. thanks

IceBeing Wed 05-Nov-14 19:29:10

How can it be right that you aren't allowed to drive home hours after a GA but apparently its okay to be left on your own with a newborn baby?

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